Professional Development

In the 'ALA Annual' Category...

ALA 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 3:31 pm

In case I’d been longing for parades (turns out I had), a confluence of well-known events made the 2015 ALA Annual Conference the perfect place to be. How do New Orleans and San Francisco parades compare, you ask? San Francisco parades involve less alcohol; more illegal-smelling smoke; smaller floats; fewer thrown objects; and more daytime nudity (not pictured).

The first session I attended was put on by the Cataloging Norms Interest Group of ALCTS. Nancy Fallgren of the National Library of Medicine gave an update on NLM’s BIBFRAME pilot project, which has been underway for some time. BIBFRAME Lite is an experimental set of core elements meant to be used in the new encoding framework, and NLM is working on mapping from MARC, Dublin Core, and other non-MARC legacy formats to BF Lite. However, Ms. Fallgren emphasized that their primary focus is on creation of new metadata using BIBFRAME, not conversion. A print monograph BIBFRAME mockup is viewable here.

At the same session, Roman Panchyshyn from Kent State talked about the non-stop nature of change experienced by technical services staff in the 21st Century. Managing change has become a key function for managers in technical services departments. Traditional breakdowns between acquisitions, cataloging, serials, etc. are disappearing. This trend, I think, is reflected here in Resource Services at ZSR. Mr. Panchyschyn identified eight skills/competencies that all technical services staff need to possess in order to keep up. I won’t list all of them here (full list available upon request), but suffice it to say they are metadata-centric, linked data-oriented, and future-looking. Liberal use of hyphens, sadly, isn’t one of them.

Still at the same session, Diane Hillmann from Syracuse speculated as to whether libraries will retain their legacy metadata once conversion to BIBFRAME is complete. She concluded that this is advisable; storage is relatively cheap, and you never know when you might need the data again. “Park the MARC,” she advised, wisely I think. As to whether we are making the right choice in moving toward BIBFRAME, Ms. Hillmann said that this is a moot question: there is no one right choice, and in future we will need to be multiply conversant as metadata takes on new forms and different libraries and other cultural heritage communities decide to go in divergent directions. This is part of the promise of BIBFRAME: it is to be flexible, extensible, and adaptable.

Believe it or not, I did go to other sessions and meetings. Later on Saturday I met with my ALCTS Acquisitions Section Organization and Management Committee, and on Sunday I met with my division-level ALCTS Planning Committee, where we continued to work on a three-year ALCTS strategic plan, with new emphasis on how best to track progress on that plan once it is in place. My work on the Planning Committee has provided a broad view of ALCTS as a whole – its different divisions, its reporting structure and micro-cultures, and its direction. I’ve only completed one year of a three-year term, so I have more enlightenment to look forward to, as my power and influence grow daily.

Roy Tennant from OCLC gave a fun presentation titled “Ground Truthing MARC,” in which he made a worthy comparison between the geographical process of ground truthing and the value of analyzing the existing MARC record landscape before we move to convert it en masse. He has been performing some interesting automated analyses of the ridiculously huge universe of records present in OCLC’s database, and found some interesting (if not surprising) results. A relatively small number of tags (100, 245, etc.) make up the vast majority of instances of populated subfields in OCLC; whereas hundreds of tags are used only infrequently and, all told, constitute a very small percentage of the data in OCLC. This type of analysis, he believes, will be essential as we start to think about mapping OCLC’s data into a BIBFRAME environment.

In other presentations, Amber Billey from the University of Vermont made an interesting case that in requiring NACO-authorized catalogers to choose between “Male,” “Female,” and “Not known” when assigning gender to an authority (RDA Rule 9.7), LC is expressing a false and regressively binary conception of gender. She and others have submitted a fast-track proposal that “Transgender” be added as an additional option; this proposal would seem to have merit. Joseph Kiegel from the University of Washington and Beth Camden from Penn discussed their libraries’ experiences migrating to the Ex Libris Alma and Kuali Ole ILS’s, respectively. In such migrations technical support is essential, whether provided by the system vendor or (as in the case of an open-source system like Kuali Ole) a third-party company that contracts to provide support.

On the last day, Corynne McSherry from the Electronic Frontier Foundation discussed several important copyright-related legal cases from the last year, including Authors Guild v. Hathitrust, Authors Guild v. Google, and Cambridge University Press v. Patton. The EFF is seeking a Digital Millennium Copyright Act exception for circumventing access-restriction technology in no-longer-supported video games so that archivists can preserve them, as these games are an important part of our cultural heritage. This was an entirely new topic to me and caused me to think back fondly on the days when Halo was young and I was too, when video games weren’t things to preserve, but to play. I suppose that preservation is the next-best thing.

Lauren at ALA 2015 in San Francisco

Thursday, July 2, 2015 5:13 pm

It probably seemed like everyone was talking about linked data because that was the focus of most of the sessions I attended.

One of the more interesting ones was the Library of Congress BIBFRAME Update Forum, because in addition to Sally McCallum and Beacher Wiggins of LC, they had speakers from Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, SirsiDynix, Atlas (think ILLIAD and ARES), OCLC, and Zepheira. At this stage, I think they were all trying to reassure clients that they will keep up with change. I took more notes on Ex Libris than the others since we’re a current customer: After some prologue on revolution vs evolution, Ido Peled, VP, Soluations and Marketing, said, that moving to a native linked data catalog is more revolutionary and Ex Libris is more comfortable with evolution. But I thought he gave more concrete evidence of readiness for linked data than the others because he said ALMA was built to support MARC and Dublin Core already and that Primo Central is already in RDF format, using JSON-LD. He also emphasized the multi-tenant environment and said, “Technology isn’t the focus. The focus is outcomes.” Because linked data includes relying on the data of others and interlinking with your own data, the “multi-tenant” environment concept made sense suddenly and helped me understand why I keep hearing about groups moving to ALMA, like Orbis-Cascade. I’ve also heard from individuals that it hasn’t been easy, but when is a system migration ever easy?

I also attended “Getting Started with Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU.” They each worked on their own linked data projects, figuring out tools to use (like OpenRefine) and work flows. Then they tested on each other’s data to help them refine the tools for use with different future projects and for sharing them broadly in the library community. They both said they learned a lot and made adjustments to the tools they used. I got a much better sense of what might be involved in taking on a linked data project. Successes and issues they covered reminded me of our work on authority control and RDA enhancement: matches and near matches through an automated process, hits and non-hits against VIAF, cleaning up and normalizing data for extra spaces, punctuation, etc. In fact this session built well on “Data Clean-Up: Let’s Not Sweep it Under the Rug,” which was sponsored by the committee I’m on with Erik Mitchell, the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee. I got a good foundation regarding use of MARCedit and OpenRefine for normalizing data to eliminate spaces and punctuation. While I knew regular expressions were powerful, I finally learned what they can do. In one example, punctuation stemming from an ampersand in an organization name caused data to become parsed incorrectly, breaking apart the name of the organization every time for the thousands of times it appeared. A regular expression can overcome this problem in an automated way — there’s no need to fix each instance one by one. (Think in terms of how macros save work.)

The ALCTS President’s Program: Three Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age featured Maryanne Wolf, Director, Center for Reading and Language Research and John DiBaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University. It was interesting to learn from her that brains weren’t designed for reading — think about cave men and their primary goals, which didn’t include reading. She gave a great overview of the development of language and reading and incidentally showed that those who operate in CJK languages have different parts of the brain lighting up than those of us who operate in other languages. This was all foundation leading up to how the brain operates and the effects of reading on the screen. The way we read on a screen results in the loss of certain abilities like reflection and creating connections. She measured that it takes time to regain those abilities too. She isn’t by any means anti-electronic though — she’s doing interesting work in Ethiopia with kids learning by using tablets. We’ll have to get her forthcoming book when it is finished!

I also attended committee meetings, met with vendors, networked, and got to catch up with former colleagues Erik Mitchell and Lauren Pressley over a dinner that Susan organized. (Thanks, Susan!) I especially enjoyed catching up with former colleagues Charles Hillen and Ed Summers, both dating back to my days at ODU in Norfolk, Virginia. Charles now works for YBP as Director of Library Technical Services and Ed just received the Kilgour Award from LITA/OCLC. Thanks to Ed, I got to meet Eric Hellman, president of the company that runs Unglue.it. And thanks to WFU Romance Languages faculty member Alan Jose, who mentioned the idea, I went Monday afternoon with Derrik and Carolyn to visit the Internet Archive offices, where we met Brewster Kahle. The volume the organization handles is mind-blowing! Kahle says they only collect about 40 TV channels right now and it is not enough. They have designed the book digitization equipment they are using (and selling it at a reasonable price too). They have people digitizing reels of films, VHS, and audio, but Kahle says they’ve got to come up with a better method than equipment using magnetic heads that are hard to find. Someone is working on improving search right now too. Some major advice offered was to learn Python!

 

Derrik at ALA 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015 3:51 pm

Since I am still serving on the ALCTS Standards Committee, I’ll start my ALA report talking about one standard (sort of) that you’ve probably heard of, and two you’re probably less familiar with.

BIBFRAME (heard of it?) – I attended a presentation describing results from converting serials catalog records from MARC into BIBFRAME. I didn’t catch the name of the conversion software, but the presenter was from UC-Davis. Disclaimer: This session reminded me that my cataloging skills have gotten rusty, so I’m not sure I can describe this very well. First of all, she pointed out that most libraries will have MARC records following several different sets of cataloging rules—for example, pre-AACR2, AACR2, & RDA. If I understood correctly, the ISSN, title fields (210, 222, 245), and previous/subsequent title fields (780/785) all transferred fairly well into BIBFRAME. The converter ran into trouble with the older “latest entry” catalog records, which list a serial’s entire title-change history on a single record, because RDA considers each separate title to be a Work, but the conversion software migrated them as Instances. The older date range format also caused problems, because the software interpreted the first issue’s volume number (correctly) as the first issue, but then it interpreted the first issue’s date as the last issue. The speaker also raised the question of how to handle local adaptations when converting to BIBFRAME. The work of analysis and evaluation continues.

ODI – I heard Marshall Breeding speak about NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), which lays out ways to improve interoperability of discovery systems with other database products. Breeding discussed the history of “discovery” products (like Summon) and some of the associated challenges. ODI seeks to alleviate some of the problems by providing a recommended structure for data exchange, covering data formats, method of delivery, usage reporting, updates, etc. Breeding acknowledged that index-based systems will never be “done,” but the ODI standard will help add some needed transparency and will provide a framework for evaluating discovery systems. His final thought was that “we need discovery systems that both users and librarians will love … but that’s not going to be easy.”

PESC – The Protocol for Exchanging Serial Content (PESC) is a very newly-published NISO Recommended Practice (published less than a week ago). It provides a recommended structure for transmitting serial content. The speaker pointed out that sending and receiving files is not very complex when it’s one sender and one receiver. But PESC aims to bring order to the chaos of many senders and many receivers. For example, a publisher may send content to EBSCO, ProQuest, JSTOR, Portico, and other receivers, all of whom receive content from multiple publishers. The recommendations cover things like including a manifest (list of files), contents of the manifest, file naming conventions, etc.

Speaking of receiving content from multiple sources, I went to a session on data cleanup that included a presentation by Amy Rudersdorf of the Digital Public Library of America. She described a new ingestion system the DPLA is using, aptly called Heiðrún. Rudersdorf explained that “Heiðrún” refers to a mythical goat who would eat anything and produce mead.

I attended a good presentation on leadership by Susan Massey from the University of North Florida. Massey said to think of the organization chart as a hanging mobile, and when one piece is out of balance it affects all the other pieces above and below it. She discussed some of the character traits of a good leader: trustworthiness, fairness, integrity, loyalty. She said leaders should be real & transparent, communicate openly, model mature response to crises, etc. She also encouraged service leadership, seeing that those you supervise have the resources necessary for their jobs, helping them excel in their jobs, and knowing and helping them achieve their goals.

In the exhibit hall I met a few vendor reps face-to-face for the first time. I also joined Lauren and Jeff in meeting with two vendors at the same time to try to iron out some e-book data problems. I think we may have finally gotten through to at least one of the people we needed to get through to. I also got some questions answered, learned about some upcoming database enhancements, etc.

Susan at ALA 2015 in San Francisco

Thursday, July 2, 2015 10:58 am

Moscone Center

Moscone Center, site of ALA Annual 2015

This year’s ALA Annual conference took place in a popular destination location, on the weekend following the historic decision from the Supreme Court on the right for same-sex marriage. Add to this that it was the annual Pride parade weekend and there were close to 20,000 librarians in town and you can imagine how high the energy level was in San Francisco! I felt so fortunate that I was able to witness the thousands who came out to celebrate “Love is Love” at Sunday’s parade.

San Francisco Pride Parade

“Love Won” newspaper headline from the San Francisco Chronicle during the Pride Parade

The parade was a highlight, but the conference itself provided plenty of interesting moments as well. This past spring I was elected to a 3-year term as a Director-at-Large for LITA (Library Information and Technology Association). Although I’ve been involved with LITA for many years in a variety of roles, I will be serving on the Board for the next 3 years. So my LITA education began at this conference. I attended the board meetings as a guest and took part in an orientation session to help us new board members get up to speed. I discovered there is quite a bit of background reading to help me learn about the organization, including a manual and the bylaws. I attended LITA’s main program day on Sunday that includes the popular Top Tech Trends panel discussion and the President’s Program, which featured a conversation with Lou Rosenfeld,co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.

The top trends highlighted by the panel included

  • scalable internal connectivity (think about all those mobile devices connecting simultaneously)
  • interesting applications for RFID (example – Art Library in Switzerland that uses it for a daily inventory)
  • open source software
  • free, ubiquitous internet access in cities
  • cross-sector collaboration with purpose to improve services
  • ILS bloat
  • renaissance of podcasting
  • innovation communities founded around the library

Rosenfeld discussed his work with UX (user experience) and one of the interesting concepts that I learned about was the “short head.” We all know about the “long tail” but not so much about the short head attached to it! This term refers to the figure that is shown on the Zipf curve pictured below (comes from Zipf’s Law). The figure shows the most frequently searched terms on the left, and these make up the “short head.” Rosenfeld uses this curve to demonstrate how to use the law when tuning your website.

Zipf Curve from Louis Rosenfeld

Zipf Curve from Louis Rosenfeld

With my increased committee involvement, I didn’t have as much time to attend a variety of program sessions, but I managed to select at least one from most of my main areas of responsibility:

Digital Scholarship IG Discussion. I’m certain that Chelcie will give a more granular report for this session, but it was a good program that featured Joan Lippincott from CNI who presented Trends in digital scholarship centers: a view from CNI. She described findings from CNI’s work on trends in digital scholarship centers and her own observations from interviews and on-site visits. One of the main sources of data came from a workshop CNI conducted in April 2014 that involved 35 participants from 24 institutions and resulted in a report published in December. Also presenting were two people from NYU’s Digital Scholarship Services, which has some resemblance to what we are doing at ZSR. They don’t have a specific physical space and pull people in as needed to provide their services.

Creating Impactful Assessment Reports. This program, sponsored by LLAMA, was a panel discussion. The new dean for UNCC, Anne Cooper Moore, was joined by two librarians from Florida State University (Julia Zimmerman, Dean and University Librarian and Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian). The format of the session was for the panel to field questions relating to leveraging assessment reports to be effective tools to present to stakeholders. Julia noted that most stakeholders are busy people and long reports don’t get read, so she recommended executive summaries as key. Here are some other recommendations:

  • Use both qualitative and quantitative data to tell the narrative.
  • Individual quotes from people have impact.
  • There is a tie between assessment and marketing.
  • Data visualizations should be clear, colorful and should stand apart from the text.

An interesting discussion took place about what sort of assessment personnel different libraries have. Many have a single assessment librarian but who that person reports to is all over the map. There was an opinion from the panel that the most effective reporting line is to the library dean. There was also a consensus that having a committee in place either as a stand alone (if there isn’t a designated assessment position) or to supplement the assessment librarian is a good idea. It helps to have more eyes on the data and to get different perspectives.

Library of the Future: the Learning Optimized Library. This presentation was given by Steelcase. The speaker, Mark Walters, gave an overview on the company’s research on human behavior in libraries and provided examples of how to design for the tensions that have emerged between learning activities and space design (of course, using their furniture as the examples of solutions! Two new products that caught my interest are the Brody and the Thread). Mark is with the Education division at Steelcase, which launched in 2008. More than once he referenced an article by Scott Bennett on the changing roles of libraries that was published in 2009 (Muse title, restricted to subscribers). He described the methodology of their observational study which included time spent at 20 libraries. They have a living lab at Grand Valley State and this video shows what they’ve done there. The main thrust of their recommendations is to plan in zones with realistic adjacencies that take into account the concept of “alone together” and spanning from private to public:

Informal Learning Matrix

Informal Learning Matrix

Findings include:

  • Learning is social, but it takes many forms
  • Deep thinking requires blocking out distractions (both visual and sound)
  • Technology is ubiquitous so there are issues of infrastructure (the whole outlet thing) and ergonomics
  • Spaces have different rhythms of behavior

If any of these short narratives have caught your interest, I have more detailed notes I’ll be glad to share. As usual, I’ll close with a link to all the photos I took while I was out and about in San Francisco.

Heading to Coit Tower

View of Bay Near Coit Tower

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014 4:27 pm

Despite the exotic setting in Vegas, for me this summer’s ALA felt very routine in that I attended all my old standby sessions — ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group, ACRL Digital Humanities Interest Group, and programs sponsored by the ALCTS CAMMS Metadata Interest Group, among others.

Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege

My favorite session of the conference — scratch that, my favorite ALA session of all time — was a program titled Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege organized by the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section. The session did a fabulous job of collapsing the distinction between theory and practice; rather, thinking deeply about how the digital humanities are practiced “increases our ability to partner with and be valued on our campuses.” During this program I experimented with taking notes on Twitter—both because it enabled me to participate in a broader conversation (inside the conference center room and beyond) and because live tweeting forced me to think about to think about what I found most meaningful rather than simply transcribing. A few tweets that capture the program’s most memorable talking points are below.

ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group

As co-chair of the ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group, I was sad to bid goodbye to outgoing co-chair Sarah Potvin (Digital Scholarship Librarian at Texas A&M University) and delighted to meet incoming co-chair Drew Krewer (Digitization Operations Librarian at the University of Houston). I feel really grateful to collaborate with such wonderful people, whom I wouldn’t get to know so well without sharing these service responsibilities.

The program that Sarah and I developed focused on the use of the BitCurator tool to generate preservation metadata for born-digital materials. (I wrote at greater length about BitCurator in an earlier post.) We experimented somewhat with the format of the program in the hopes of facilitating a dialogue between BitCurator developers and current BitCurator users as well as those considering incorporating BitCurator into their workflows for processing born-digital materials. The format of our program was an in-depth overview of BitCurator from its PI Cal Lee, as well as two lightning talks from current BitCurator users, Jarrett M. Drake (Princeton University) and Rebecca Russell and Amanda Focke (Rice University). Many of the people who are on the ground using BitCurator to acquire disk images and generate metadata are SAA-goers rather than ALA-goers, but our program exposed preservation administrators to a helpful tool from the perspective of its builders and its users at more than one institution. Afterward more than one person who was in attendance expressed interest in joining the recently announced BitCurator Consortium. Fabulous slides from all the presenters are available in the Preservation Metadata Interest Group’s space on ALA Connect.

Discussion with Digitization Equipment Vendors

I valued the opportunity to speak in person with representatives of the Crowley Company (distributor of Zeutschel overhead scanners) and Atiz (maker of the BookDrive). I got a clearer idea of various models’ technical specifications and list prices, which is helpful information to tuck away for future reference.

Favorite Publishers in the Exhibit Hall

Like many people, I find the exhibit hall overwhelming, but since I’ve started going to ALA I’ve been on a quest to find my favorite small press publishers so that I know exactly which booths to visit for the best literary fiction and non-fiction of the coming year. I like visiting the smaller publishers because often the marketing staff in the booth are actually the people who did editorial work on the titles they’re promoting, so they speak from a place of deep knowledge and love when they share their favorite new works. This was the first year when I’ve felt as though I’ve found the presses that most appeal to me — Coffee House Press, The New Press, NYRB, Workman Publishing, and SoHo Press — so I’m totally indulging myself and sharing all of my favorite finds below. I hauled them all back to my office to create a tiny library of things to read during lunch, so drop by if you’d like to borrow any. I’m curious to hear from others, too. What are your go to booths for books for personal reading at ALA?

My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas

Above: My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas.

Sarah at ALA Annual 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014 1:30 pm

I had a busy year on the Executive Board of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), which is a non-profit affiliate of ALA. I organized two APALA events in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference including a fundraising event with a tour of Zappos corporate headquarters and the community-focused Downtown Project. Over 30 people attended including Hu Womack, who wrote a great summary! I also organized the venue for the Asian/Pacific American Literature Awards Banquet, which had over 50 attendees. The 2013-2014 APALA Literature Award recipients are the following:

Picture Book Winner: Ji-li Jiang. Red Kite, Blue Kite. Disney/Hyperion.

Picture Book Honor: Marissa Moss. Barbed Wire Baseball, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Abrams.

Children’s Literature Winner: Cynthia Kadohata. The Thing About Luck. Atheneum Books.

Children’s Literature Honor: Josanne La Valley. The Vine Basket. Clarion Books.

Young Adult Literature: Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani. Jet Black and the Ninja Wind. Tuttle Publishing.

Young Adult Literature Honor: Suzanne Kamata. Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible. GemmaMedia.

Adult Fiction Winner: Ruth Ozeki. A Tale for the Time Being. Viking.

Adult Fiction Honor: Jennifer Cody Epstein. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. W. W. Norton.

Adult Non-Fiction Winner: Cindy I-Fen Cheng. Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War. New York University Press.

Adult Non-Fiction Honor Book: Cecilia M. Tsu. Garden of the World: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California’s Santa Clara Valley. Oxford University Press.

I’ve also been active in the ACRL Science & Technology Section since 2004, and was reappointed to the STS Continuing Education Committee for another 2-year term. This committee coordinates the STS Mentoring Program, and I manage the Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science Librarians. The best science program that I attended was hosted by the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group, and I shared about my work in bioinformatics. I received encouragement from my fellow STS colleagues about my efforts in the bioinformatics area. I’m also grateful to an STS colleague who encouraged me to become a conference organizer of the first Science Boot Camp Southeast, which is next week!

Derrik’s ALA roundup

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 4:43 pm

I’ve sorted my 2014 ALA Annual Conference experience into 3 categories–Committee work, Vendor chats, and Sessions.

Committee work

The ALCTS Standards Committee was formed last fall to promote member involvement in and education about the development of information standards. Part of my assignment on that committee is to act as liaison to the ALCTS Continuing Resources Section (CRS), which means I got to go to two sets of committee meetings for the price of one! Saturday morning I traveled to Paris (i.e. Paris Las Vegas) where CRS was holding its “all committees” meeting. I met with the CRS Standards Committee, Cataloging Committee, Committee on Holdings Information, and the CRS Executive Committee to discuss the division-level committee’s charge and the best way for me to liaise with CRS. Then Sunday afternoon at the ALCTS division-level “all committees” meeting, we discussed reports from the 5 sections of ALCTS. We are still trying to pin down the best ways to carry out our charge. We are looking for ways to foster collaboration between the sections, and trying to determine the best way to interact with external standards organizations.

Vendor chats

With all the committee meetings and sessions I needed to attend, I wasn’t sure I would have enough time in the vendor exhibit hall. As I look at my results, I’m still not sure how I packed all this in. I won’t give details here, but feel free to follow up with me if you want to know more about any of these.

I had some fairly long, productive discussions with
JSTOR – ebooks & DDA
YBP – DDA profile management (deletions) & more
NYTimes – academic site license
EBSCO – Usage Consolidation questions
Kanopy – DDA
ProQuest/EBL – STL pricing, e-books in Summon, Academic Complete & DDA, etc.

Lauren, Jeff, and I attended a ProQuest-sponsored discussion about DDA, with librarians and publishers participating. Basically, everybody is struggling to adapt.

I had shorter discussions with
Wiley – new article interface coming
Data-Planet – new Java-free interface for Statistical Datasets coming
CLCD – we’re trying to get their author-title catalog lookup to work
Project MUSE – e-books, DDA (which they aren’t doing), & evidence-based acquisition (which they’re working on)
Taylor & Francis – e-book STL pricing
ProQuest – brief Intota demo
McFarland – thanked them for participating in NC LIVE’s Home Grown e-books pilot
BrowZine – now has an iPhone app
and the New York Philharmonic Archives, a free resource I had been unaware of – do you know what they played at their first concert?

And several others, of course. I met some sales reps that I had previously only corresponded with by e-mail (Alexander Street, SAGE, Taylor & Francis, and Euromonitor). I even managed to find a few book signings with no lines!

Sessions

Michael Levine Clark gave an e-book usage report, very similar to the one I attended at Midwinter last January. The basic (unanswered) question is “What constitutes meaningful use of an e-book?” (Or from a more practical standpoint, what type(s) of e-book use should we be measuring?) At one point, Clark suggested that an e-book being downloaded may be an indicator of significant use, but ZSR’s early data seemed to indicate that a download was usually an indicator of the user’s unfamiliarity with the platform. Answering an audience question about user preference, Clark said that if you ask users “Do you prefer print books or e-books?” most of them will select a preference, but if your questions are more nuanced-Which do you prefer for looking up a fact? Which do you prefer for immersive reading? If you could get an e-book immediately but had to wait 5 minutes for a print book, which would you prefer?-then no clear preference emerges, at least in the research he has done. Clark’s presentation slides are available at www.slideshare.net/MichaelLevineClark

In the CRS Standards Forum, presenter Aron Wolf, a ProQuest software developer, spoke about the NISO Recommended Practice called IOTA (“Improving OpenURL Through Analytics”). IOTA, released in 2013, came out of a 4-year research project to produce a standard way for link resolver vendors (think of the WFU Full Text Options button) to measure & describe how well their product works. Wolf, who was part of the working group for IOTA, said they concluded that there was not an objective, cross-vendor metric, so IOTA instead recommends a methodology for testing a link resolver against itself. At that point he either lost me in the technical details or else I understood it so well I didn’t think I needed to take any notes. One future possibility he suggested was that it may become possible for reports to check accuracy within a matter of hours, enabling link resolvers to respond much more quickly when publishers change linking formats.

The last session I attended at ALA was about “articles on demand,” also called pay-per-view (PPV), which is essentially DDA for journal articles. First, Beth Bernhardt from UNCG talked about their experience dropping PPV about 9 years ago in favor of “big deal” journal subscription bundles, and now having to reconsider PPV in light of ongoing budget cuts. Susanna Bossenga from Northeastern Illinois University explained her library’s on-demand article delivery, which they currently provide using the Copyright Clearance Center’s Get It Now service. Article requests are mediated and processed by their ILL department. Finally, Mark England from the University of Utah described their implementation of ReadCube Access. When authenticated users come across un-owned articles, ReadCube Access presents them with options to rent for 48 hours, download, or get a “cloud” copy (online reading only, with no time limit). The library pays, of course, with each access option costing a different amount–$4 to rent, $10 for the cloud option, or $25 for a downloadable PDF.

 

That summarizes my conference, and may help explain why I still feel jet-lagged a week later. Speaking of jets, my flight home left Las Vegas 10 minutes before a National Weather Service Excessive Heat Warning went into effect. I must say that if the heat over the weekend wasn’t “excessive” (Monday’s high was 111°), I’m really glad I got out when I did.

 

2014 ALA Annual in Las Vegas

Monday, July 7, 2014 4:31 pm

This year’s ALA Annual meeting marked my first visit to the very hot, colorful, and sensory-overloaded city of Las Vegas. After arriving Friday afternoon, I headed to the Las Vegas Hotel to attend an OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) meeting to hear about the upcoming publication of best practices for DVD-Blu ray cataloging. While I have yet to catalog many Blu-ray discs, I know this information will come in handy the next time I do so. Afterwards, I met up with Hu at the convention center to hear Jane McGonigal, game designer and opening keynote speaker, talk about the power and positive aspects of games/gaming. I am really excited about the prospect of working with Hu in hosting McGonigal’s game creation, “Find the Future”, at ZSR. Following the talk, Hu and I attended the ANSS social at Tamba Indian Cuisine.

On Saturday, I attended a session on international developments in library linked data that featured a panel of 3 speakers: Richard Wallis, Technology Evangelist at OCLC; Jodi Schneider of the Centre de Recherche, and Neil Wilson, Head of Collection Metadata at the British Library. Linked data is a popular conference topic and one that I need to study more in depth. Per, Mr. Wallis discussed the importance of using structured data on the web using markup as seen on schema.org. Schema.org tries to infer meaning from strings of data. In April 2014, WorldCat Entities was released. It is a database of 197+ million linked Work descriptions (i.e. a high-level description of a resource that contains information such as author, name, descriptions, subjects, etc., common to all editions of a work) and URIs (uniform resource identifier). Linked data:

  • takes one across the web and is navigated by a graph of knowledge
  • is standard on the web
  • identifies and links resources on the web
  • is a technology (i.e. entity based data architecture powered by linked data).

Wallis used the phrase “syndication of libraries.” Unlike the web, libraries don’t want to sell stuff, we want people to use our stuff. Libraries’ information is aggregated to a central site (e.g. National Library, consortia, WorldCat) and the details are then published to syndicate partners (e.g. Google). Syndication moves to linking users back directly to libraries. Individual libraries publish resource data. Utilizing linked data from authoritative hubs (e.g. Library of Congress, WorldCat Works, VIAF) in our records assists in the discovery of these resources as it makes them recognizable and identifiable on the web. Users will then be referred to available library resources.

What can libraries/librarians do in the area of linked data?

  1. Contribute to WorldCat.
  2. Apply schema.org across one’s library’s web site.
  3. Select systems that will link to entities on the web. We are “on the cusp of a wave”, says Wallis.
  4. Add URIs to cataloging records. The web will aggregate like information.

Jodi Schneider’s talk focused on linked data developments from Europe (i.e. Belgium, Norway, Ireland and France). The British Library’s Neil Wilson stated that better web integration of library resources increases a libraries’ visibility to new groups which can bring about wider utility and relevance libraries. During the Q&A, an individual posed a question about the stability of URIs, a topic that has come up in a recent ZSR discussion of which I was a part. The panel responded that URI stability depends upon who’s publishing them. An organization does saddle itself with the responsibility of making sure that URIs are persistent. It’s up to the reputation of organizations creating URIs to make sure they remain persistent. Libraries can add authority to URIs. One needs to realize that some outlying sources may go away, and for this very reason, preservation of linked data is becoming an emerging issue.

In addition to the session on linked data, I attended the following sessions:

  • becoming a community-engaged academic library which was co-sponsored by ANSS and EBSS
  • meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee which I will be chairing 2014-2015
  • consulting and collaborating with faculty, staff, and students about metadata used in Digital Humanities projects
  • e-book backlogs
  • anthropology librarians discussion group
  • “Quiet Strengths of Introverts”

All in all, it was a great conference. I went to a couple of vendor parties, visited the Hoover Dam in 119 degree heat, and enjoyed a wonderful meal at Oscar’s with my coworkers, but I was very eager to get back home and in a quiet environment.

Steve at 2014 ALA Annual

Monday, July 7, 2014 1:32 pm

As with the past few conferences, my experience at the 2014 ALA Annual conference was dominated by work on ALCTS committees. As such, most of the stuff I did was pretty deep in the cataloging weeds, so I’ll try to pick out the items that might be of interest to a more general audience. Much of my time (4.5 hours one afternoon and a follow-up 3 hours one morning) was devoted to CC:DA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access), which develops ALA’s position on RDA. Proposals approved by CC:DA are sent up to the JSC (Joint Steering Committee), the international body that is the final arbiter of the content of RDA. We passed a proposal from the Audio-Visual and Music communities that loosens the rules for recording statements of responsibility, which is particularly important for A/V and music catalogers. The current RDA instructions require catalogers to record composers as the primary party responsible for a music recording, which works fine for most classical music, but is terribly confusing for popular music (do you really want to have Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” to be primarily credited to Bob Dylan, or is Hendrix the important name?). We’re hoping that this proposal will be approved by the JSC. CC:DA also got a bit closer to resolving the problem playfully known as “the cascading vortex of horror,” which is a situation where RDA can be interpreted to mean that catalogers are required to record up to four production statements, depending on the information provided on a published item (if there is no publication info, you have to record that there is no publication info, then if there is no distribution info, you have to record that there is no distribution info, then you have to record whether or not there is manufacturing info, then you have to record copyright info). The proposal would say that you only record the info you have, you don’t have to say what you don’t have, other than the publication info. The proposal was not passed, as a new issue was brought up as to whether or not we should even say we don’t have publication info.

My other committee work was on the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee. We met to discuss the forum we had planned for later in the conference, as well as tossing around ideas for programming at Midwinter. We seem to be gravitating toward the idea of having something on Bibframe to both explain it in terms catalogers can understand and to relate Bibframe specifically to the concerns of continuing resources catalogers. The committee’s forum on Monday afternoon was the last business event I attended at the conference. It covered a lot of continuing resources/serials cataloging stuff that would be of no interest to anybody but me, but there was one bit of info that might be of general interest. Regina Reynolds from the Library of Congress said that the ISSN Center (the international agency that issues International Standard Serials Numbers to serial publications) is working to deal with publishers it deems to be predatory. By predatory they mean fly-by-night publishers who produce sub-standard material with titles and/or logos that are very similar to the titles and logos of highly respected publications, or titles that are otherwise deceptive and designed to cause confusion in the reader. If the ISSN Center deems a title to be predatory, they may revoke the title’s ISSN, making it much harder for the publisher to sell their publication.

Let’s see, what else? I attended a session on Schema.org that confused the heck out of me. I fear that it’s something that I’ll need to have explained to me three of four times before I start to get it (like with FRBR), although I had a follow-up conversation with Lauren Corbett that helped clear some of my confusion. I also talked with a rep from OCLC about their new KnowledgeBase and their Notification service. I’m particularly excited about the Notification service, because if we sign up for it, if a record we have our holdings attached to gets edited in the OCLC database (like say, if the record is upgraded from AACR2 cataloging to RDA cataloging), we would get sent the newly edited version of the record. With the bib records in OCLC changing so quickly these days, this service would be very useful. And it doesn’t cost anything extra, the price is included in our subscription. Now, when I hear a big company say that something doesn’t cost extra, that’s usually when I check to make sure my wallet is still there, but I grilled the guy from OCLC and it seems like it’s for real. Which was certainly nice to hear.

ALA Annual 2014 Las Vegas – Lauren

Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:08 pm

Three segments to my post: 1) Linked Data and Semantic Web, 2) Introverts at Work, and 3) Vendors and Books and Video — read just the part that interests you!

1. Linked Data and Semantic Web (or, Advances in Search and Discovery)

Steve Kelley sparked my interest in the Semantic Web and Linked Data with reports after conferences over the past few years. Now that I’ve been appointed to the joint ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee and attended a meeting at this conference, I’ve learned more:

Google Hummingbird is a recent update to how Google searching functions, utilizing all the words in the query to provide more meaningful results instead of just word matches.

Catalogers and Tech Team take note! Work is really happening now with Linked Data. In Jason Clark’s presentation,”Schema.org in Libraries,” see the slide with links to work being done at NCSU and Duke (p. 28 of the posted PDF version).

I’m looking forward to working with Erik Mitchell and other Metadata Standards Committee members in the coming year.

2. Introverts at Work!

The current culture of working in meetings (such as brainstorming) and reaching quick decisions in groups or teams is geared towards extroverts while about 50% of the population are introverts. Introverts can be most productive and provide great solutions when given adequate time for reflection. (Extrovert and introvert were defined in the Jung and MBTI sense of energy gain/drain.) So says Jennifer Kahnweiler, the speaker for the ALCTS President’s Program and author of Quiet Influence. Another book discussing the same topic is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Many ZSRians attended this session!

3.Vendors and Books and Video

I spent a lot of time talking with vendors. Most notable was the meeting that Derrik, Jeff, and I attended with some of the publishers that are raising DDA short term loan prices. This will affect our budget, but our plan is to watch it for a bit, to develop our knowledge and determine appropriate action. It was helpful to learn more from the publishers. Some publishers are able to switch to print on demand, while others cannot because traditional print runs are cheaper than print on demand and their customers still want print. Print-driven publishers have to come up with a sustainable model to cover all of the costs, so they are experimenting with DDA pricing. DDA overall is still an experiment for publishers, while librarians already have come to think of it as being a stable and welcome method of providing resources.

Derrik and I also started conversing with Proquest about how we will manage our existing DDA program in regards to the addition of ebrary Academic Complete to NC LIVE.

“The combined bookshops of Aux Amateurs de Livres and Touzot Librarie Internationale will be called Amalivre effective July 1, 2014.”

Regarding video, Mary Beth, Jeff, Derrik and I attended a presentation by two Australian librarians from different large universities (QUT and La Trobe, with FTE in tens of thousands). They reported on their shift to streaming video with Kanopy and here are a few bullets:

  • Among drivers for change were the flipped classroom and mobile use
  • 60% of the DVD collection had less than 5 views while streaming video titles licensed through Kanopy averaged over 50 views
  • 23% and 15% (two universities) of DVDs have never been viewed once
  • 1.7 and 1.8 (two universities) times is the true cost of DVD ownership
  • They have a keyboard accessibility arrangement for the visually impaired
  • Usage is growing for PDA and non-PDA titles in Kanopy [reminds us of our experience with e-books]
  • Discovery of the streaming videos came largely through faculty embedding videos in the CMS
  • Other discovery is not good for video, so they had Proquest add a radio button option for video to Summon to help promote discovery [can we do this?]
  • They concluded that because of greater use,online video is the greater value for the money spent

 


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